Mercedes Benz Championship round four: Vijay Singh's victory - the shots heard around the world
Be afraid, be very afraid. Vijay Singh is back to his best and raring to take this season apart. With the opener under his belt he is now promising to come out more aggressively from this coming week and “open up a little bit more". A radio commentator put his finger on it. “Vijay seems very different. Nothing seems to bother him.”
Singh’s victory at Kapalua was clinical. He followed a cautious game plan Sunday that put the pressure on his rivals and ended with the tournament’s only bogey-free round. You’ll probably hear a few “what if” mumbles about the almost certain birdie Adam Scott had on the 17th that turned into a bogey, effectively ending any lingering hope of a shock upset. Don’t be fooled. Far more important was that Scott opened with two bogies while Singh hit the ground running with two birdies. That left a seven-shot gap virtually impossible to close. The pressure was always on Scott. He responded impressively, but it only needed one mistake and the 17th duly obliged.
In his press conferences Singh spoke of his intense preparation for this season. working on various aspects but primarily his swing virtually every day from last year’s Disney competition. It is interesting to read his description of how he diagnosed his problem and dealt with it. Now he is happy with his swing and clearly much more confident with his putting, although Sunday was not one of his better days on the greens. Looks like Vijay intends to make a big mark this year and at least regain his status as number two in the world. On the strength of this commanding performance, in some of the most difficult conditions a golfer will encounter, you can easily see him doing it.
The Mercedes threw up one or two other fascinating pointers. Although he left it too late to take Vijay on Sunday, Scott’s recovery from a poor opening day was surely a sign of things to come. To go seven behind on Sunday and finish just two behind the winner was no mean achievement. Mark him down as a winner this year (one commentator suggested at least the Nissan).
Trevor Immelman’s third place, one of only three to score four sub-par rounds, also stands out. Besides his problems with the wind it was suggested he was fazed by the particular type of Bermuda grass used on Kapalua’s greens, so watch out for him once he hits mainland USA. Davis Love III’s five under Sunday to snatch fourth place makes him one to watch, while David Toms firing the tournament’s low round of 67 Sunday suggests he is coming nicely into form to defend his Sony title in the coming week.
And finally, a free drink to the first person to ask Rory Sabbatini if he now thinks all that practise was worth it.
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Mickelson is gearing up for the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, after the "Michelle Wie Show" at the Sony Open. I can't wait to see Phil again!
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